Thursday, September 08, 2011

All-Star Justice League?

Those of you who follow these spasmodic emissions (both of you) have doubtless long since given up expecting anything like reviews from me. That's one reason I wasn't inclined to write a review of Justice League #1. The other reason is that I think I already read this book when it was All-Star Batman and Robin.

There is no way the book could possibly have lived up to the hype that preceded it, and I think we all knew that going in, so I'll resist the temptation to throw stones on that basis. Although given that it is being written and drawn by people with publisher-level authority within the company, it's hard to place the blame for that anywhere else.

I could hop on my traditional soapbox of overly-decompressed storytelling: There's about 4 pages of actual story in this issue, at best. This flaw isn't unique to the New 52, so I guess I should let it slide. Perhaps, with seven lead characters to service, Justice League should be a 48-page or 64-page book. But then I don't know anyone who thinks Jim Lee can meet the long-term deadlines of a 32-page comic, so maybe not.

I could also gripe about overly-rendered artwork. I don't need to see stitches and seams, boot treads and beard stubble. (And lots of green lens flares.) Superheroes are inherently unrealistic: Photographically-exact renderings of same is obsessive to the point of mental illness (is "anal-retentive" spelled with or without a hyphen?), and undoubtedly a contributing factor to missed publication deadlines (see above). But All The Big Kids Are Doing It Now.

I think I can complain in fairness that in this issue of Justice League the second member -- well, the second person who will, some day, be a member -- shows up on page 6, the third on 17 (in a pre-origin appearance in which he doesn't interact with the others), and the fourth in a final-panel reveal on page 23. And the villain--

Wait. Is there a villain in this book at all? I mean, from the point of view of the police, there are two, but they are supposed to be the heroes (not that they act like it). Ah, there's a glimpse, briefly, on page 5, and another on page 10, and again on page 15. Those of us who've been reading comics for decades know it's an Apocalyptian Parademon, but certainly nobody in story knows what it is. And since we're doing a soft reboot and everything is new except when it isn't, nobody's going to tell us, either. Batman and Green Lantern must not be too worried about it, though, since they expend far more effort sniping at each other than worrying about whether Gotham Power and Light has subcontracted meter-reading to Granny Goodness. But it's extra-terrestrial, and Superman is reported to be extra-terrestrial, so it must be his fault, let's go beat him up. That's Some Mighty Fine Police Work There, Gree-- Oops. Well, that didn't work. The end.

The World's Greatest Heroes aren't off to a great start. It's pretty, but ultimately empty. Next issue was solicited as Batman vs Superman, which doesn't fill me with optimism, only deja vu. Bad enough that Everything Old is New Again, but when Everything Old is Always New Again For The First Time Ever, I feel like Drew Barrymore in 50 First Dates. 

Hm. 50 First Dates vs the New 52. Now I get it.

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